Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
The New Testament
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW Commentary by David Brown
The author of this Gospel was a publican or tax gatherer, residing at Capernaum, on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. As to his identity with the "Levi" of the second and third Gospels, and other particulars, see on Mt 9:9. Hardly anything is known of his apostolic labors. That, after preaching to his countrymen in Palestine, he went to the East, is the general testimony of antiquity; but the precise scene or scenes of his ministry cannot be determined. That he died a natural death may be concluded from the belief of the best-informed of the Fathers—that of the apostles only three, James the Greater, Peter, and Paul, suffered martyrdom. That the first Gospel was written by this apostle is the testimony of all antiquity.
For the date of this Gospel we have only internal evidence, and that far from decisive. Accordingly, opinion is much divided. That it was the first issued of all the Gospels was universally believed. Hence, although in the order of the Gospels, those by the two apostles were placed first in the oldest manuscripts of the Old Latin version, while in all the Greek manuscripts, with scarcely an exception, the order is the same as in our Bibles, the Gospel according to Matthew is in every case placed first. And as this Gospel is of all the four the one which bears the most evident marks of having been prepared and constructed with a special view to the Jews—who certainly first required a written Gospel, and would be the first to make use of it—there can be no doubt that it was issued before any of the others. That it was written before the destruction of Jerusalem is equally certain; for as Hug observes [Introduction to the New Testament, p. 316, Fosdick's translation], when he reports our Lord's prophecy of that awful event, on coming to the warning about "the abomination of desolation" which they should "see standing in the holy place," he interposes (contrary to his invariable practice, which is to relate without remark) a call to his readers to read intelligently—"Whoso readeth, let him understand" (Mt 24:15)—a call to attend to the divine signal for flight which could be intended only for those who lived before the event. But how long before that event this Gospel was written is not so clear. Some internal evidences seem to imply a very early date. Since the Jewish Christians were, for five or six years, exposed to persecution from their own countrymen—until the Jews, being persecuted by the Romans, had to look to themselves—it is not likely (it is argued) that they should be left so long without some written Gospel to reassure and sustain them, and Matthew's Gospel was eminently fitted for that purpose. But the digests to which Luke refers in his Introduction (see on Lu 1:1) would be sufficient for a time, especially as the living voice of the "eye-witnesses and ministers of the Word" was yet sounding abroad. Other considerations in favor of a very early date—such as the tender way in which the author seems studiously to speak of Herod Antipas, as if still reigning, and his writing of Pilate apparently as if still in power—seem to have no foundation in fact, and cannot therefore be made the ground of reasoning as to the date of this Gospel. Its Hebraic structure and hue, though they prove, as we think, that this Gospel must have been published at a period considerably anterior to the destruction of Jerusalem, are no evidence in favor of so early a date as A.D. 37 or 38—according to some of the Fathers, and, of the moderns, Tillemont, Townson, Owen, Birks, Tregelles. On the other hand, the date suggested by the statement of Irenæus [Against Heresies, 3.1], that Matthew put forth his Gospel while Peter and Paul were at Rome preaching and founding the Church—or after A.D. 60—though probably the majority of critics are in favor of it, would seem rather too late, especially as the second and third Gospels, which were doubtless published, as well as this one, before the destruction of Jerusalem, had still to be issued. Certainly, such statements as the following, "Wherefore that field is called the field of blood unto this day" (Mt 27:8); "And this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day" (Mt 28:15), bespeak a date considerably later than the events recorded. We incline, therefore, to a date intermediate between the earlier and the later dates assigned to this Gospel, without pretending to greater precision.
We have adverted to the strikingly Jewish character and coloring of this Gospel. The facts which it selects, the points to which it gives prominence, the cast of thought and phraseology, all bespeak the Jewish point of view from which it was written and to which it was directed. This has been noticed from the beginning, and is universally acknowledged. It is of the greatest consequence to the right interpretation of it; but the tendency among some even of the best of the Germans to infer, from this special design of the first Gospel, a certain laxity on the part of the Evangelist in the treatment of his facts, must be guarded against.
But by far the most interesting and important point connected with this Gospel is the language in which it was written. It is believed by a formidable number of critics that this Gospel was originally written in what is loosely called Hebrew, but more correctly Aramaic, or Syro-Chaldaic, the native tongue of the country at the time of our Lord; and that the Greek Matthew which we now possess is a translation of that work, either by the Evangelist himself or some unknown hand. The evidence on which this opinion is grounded is wholly external, but it has been deemed conclusive by Grotius, Michaelis (and his translator), Marsh, Townson, Campbell, Olshausen, Creswell, Meyer, Ebrard, Lange, Davidson, Cureton, Tregelles, Webster and Wilkinson, &c. The evidence referred to cannot be given here, but will be found, with remarks on its unsatisfactory character, in the Introduction to the Gospels prefixed to our larger Commentary, pp. 28-31.
But how stand the facts as to our Greek Gospel? We have not a tittle of historical evidence that it is a translation, either by Matthew himself or anyone else. All antiquity refers to it as the work of Matthew the publican and apostle, just as the other Gospels are ascribed to their respective authors. This Greek Gospel was from the first received by the Church as an integral part of the one quadriform Gospel. And while the Fathers often advert to the two Gospels which we have from apostles, and the two which we have from men not apostles—in order to show that as that of Mark leans so entirely on Peter, and that of Luke on Paul, these are really no less apostolical than the other two—though we attach less weight to this circumstance than they did, we cannot but think it striking that, in thus speaking, they never drop a hint that the full apostolic authority of the Greek Matthew had ever been questioned on the ground of its not being the original. Further, not a trace can be discovered in this Gospel itself of its being a translation. Michaelis tried to detect, and fancied that he had succeeded in detecting, one or two such. Other Germans since, and Davidson and Cureton among ourselves, have made the same attempt. But the entire failure of all such attempts is now generally admitted, and candid advocates of a Hebrew original are quite ready to own that none such are to be found, and that but for external testimony no one would have imagined that the Greek was not the original. This they regard as showing how perfectly the translation has been executed; but those who know best what translating from one language into another is will be the readiest to own that this is tantamount to giving up the question. This Gospel proclaims its own originality in a number of striking points; such as its manner of quoting from the Old Testament, and its phraseology in some peculiar cases. But the close verbal coincidences of our Greek Matthew with the next two Gospels must not be quite passed over. There are but two possible ways of explaining this. Either the translator, sacrificing verbal fidelity in his version, intentionally conformed certain parts of his author's work to the second and third Gospels—in which case it can hardly be called Matthew's Gospel at all—or our Greek Matthew is itself the original.
Moved by these considerations, some advocates of a Hebrew original have adopted the theory of a double original; the external testimony, they think, requiring us to believe in a Hebrew original, while internal evidence is decisive in favor of the originality of the Greek. This theory is espoused by Guericks, Olshausen, Thiersch, Townson, Tregelles, &c. But, besides that this looks too like an artificial theory, invented to solve a difficulty, it is utterly void of historical support. There is not a vestige of testimony to support it in Christian antiquity. This ought to be decisive against it.
It remains, then, that our Greek Matthew is the original of that Gospel, and that no other original ever existed. It is greatly to the credit of Dean Alford, that after maintaining, in the first edition of his Greek Testament the theory of a Hebrew original, he thus expresses himself in the second and subsequent editions: "On the whole, then, I find myself constrained to abandon the view maintained in my first edition, and to adopt that of a Greek original."
One argument has been adduced on the other side, on which not a little reliance has been placed; but the determination of the main question does not, in our opinion, depend upon the point which it raises. It has been very confidently affirmed that the Greek language was not sufficiently understood by the Jews of Palestine when Matthew published his Gospel to make it at all probable that he would write a Gospel, for their benefit in the first instance, in that language. Now, as this merely alleges the improbability of a Greek original, it is enough to place against it the evidence already adduced, which is positive, in favor of the sole originality of our Greek Matthew. It is indeed a question how far the Greek language was understood in Palestine at the time referred to. But we advise the reader not to be drawn into that question as essential to the settlement of the other one. It is an element in it, no doubt, but not an essential element. There are extremes on both sides of it. The old idea, that our Lord hardly ever spoke anything but Syro-Chaldaic, is now pretty nearly exploded. Many, however, will not go the length, on the other side, of Hug (in his Introduction to the New Testament, pp. 326, &c.) and Roberts ("Discussions of the Gospels," &c., pp. 25, &c.). For ourselves, though we believe that our Lord, in all the more public scenes of His ministry, spoke in Greek, all we think it necessary here to say is that there is no ground to believe that Greek was so little understood in Palestine as to make it improbable that Matthew would write his Gospel exclusively in that language—so improbable as to outweigh the evidence that he did so. And when we think of the number of digests or short narratives of the principal facts of our Lord's history which we know from Luke (Lu 1:1-4) were floating about for some time before he wrote his Gospel, of which he speaks by no means disrespectfully, and nearly all of which would be in the mother tongue, we can have no doubt that the Jewish Christians and the Jews of Palestine generally would have from the first reliable written matter sufficient to supply every necessary requirement until the publican-apostle should leisurely draw up the first of the four Gospels in a language to them not a strange tongue, while to the rest of the world it was the language in which the entire quadriform Gospel was to be for all time enshrined. The following among others hold to this view of the sole originality of the Greek Matthew: Erasmus, Calvin, Beza, Lightfoot, Wetstein, Lardner, Hug, Fritzsche, Credner, De Wette, Stuart, Da Costa, Fairbairn, Roberts.
On two other questions regarding this Gospel it would have been desirable to say something, had not our available space been already exhausted: The characteristics, both in language and matter, by which it is distinguished from the other three, and its relation to the second and third Gospels. On the latter of these topics—whether one or more of the Evangelists made use of the materials of the other Gospels, and, if so, which of the Evangelists drew from which—the opinions are just as numerous as the possibilities of the case, every conceivable way of it having one or more who plead for it. The most popular opinion until recently—and perhaps the most popular still—is that the second Evangelist availed himself more or less of the materials of the first Gospel, and the third of the materials of both the first and second Gospels. Here we can but state our own belief, that each of the first three Evangelists wrote independently of both the others; while the fourth, familiar with the first three, wrote to supplement them, and, even where he travels along the same line, wrote quite independently of them. This judgment we express, with all deference for those who think otherwise, as the result of a close study of each of the Gospels in immediate juxtaposition and comparison with the others. On the former of the two topics noticed, the linguistic peculiarities of each of the Gospels have been handled most closely and ably by Credner [Einleitung (Introduction to the New Testament)], of whose results a good summary will be found in Davidson's Introduction to the New Testament. The other peculiarities of the Gospels have been most felicitously and beautifully brought out by Da Costa in his Four Witnesses, to which we must simply refer the reader, though it contains a few things in which we cannot concur.
Mt 1:1-17. Genealogy of Christ. ( = Lu 3:23-38).
1. The book of the generation—an expression purely Jewish; meaning, "table of the genealogy." In Ge 5:1 the same expression occurs in this sense. We have here, then, the title, not of this whole Gospel of Matthew, but only of the first seventeen verses.
of Jesus Christ—For the meaning of these glorious words, see on Mt 1:16; Mt 1:21. "Jesus," the name given to our Lord at His circumcision (Lu 2:21), was that by which He was familiarly known while on earth. The word "Christ"—though applied to Him as a proper name by the angel who announced His birth to the shepherds (Lu 2:11), and once or twice used in this sense by our Lord Himself (Mt 23:8, 10; Mr 9:41)—only began to be so used by others about the very close of His earthly career (Mt 26:68; 27:17). The full form, "Jesus Christ," though once used by Himself in His Intercessory Prayer (Joh 17:3), was never used by others till after His ascension and the formation of churches in His name. Its use, then, in the opening words of this Gospel (and in Mt 1:17, 18) is in the style of the late period when our Evangelist wrote, rather than of the events he was going to record.
the son of David, the son of Abraham—As Abraham was the first from whose family it was predicted that Messiah should spring (Ge 22:18), so David was the last. To a Jewish reader, accordingly, these behooved to be the two great starting-points of any true genealogy of the promised Messiah; and thus this opening verse, as it stamps the first Gospel as one peculiarly Jewish, would at once tend to conciliate the writer's people. From the nearest of those two fathers came that familiar name of the promised Messiah, "the son of David" (Lu 20:41), which was applied to Jesus, either in devout acknowledgment of His rightful claim to it (Mt 9:27; 20:31), or in the way of insinuating inquiry whether such were the case (see on Joh 4:29; Mt 12:23).
Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren;
2. Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren—Only the fourth son of Jacob is here named, as it was from his loins that Messiah was to spring (Ge 49:10).
And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram;
3-6. And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; 4. And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon; 5. And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; 6. And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her of Urias—Four women are here introduced; two of them Gentiles by birth—Rachab and Ruth; and three of them with a blot at their names in the Old Testament—Thamar, Rachab, and Bath-sheba. This feature in the present genealogy—herein differing from that given by Luke—comes well from him who styles himself in his list of the Twelve, what none of the other lists do, "Matthew the publican"; as if thereby to hold forth, at the very outset, the unsearchable riches of that grace which could not only fetch in "them that are afar off," but teach down even to "publicans and harlots," and raise them to "sit with the princes of his people." David is here twice emphatically styled "David the king," as not only the first of that royal line from which Messiah was to descend, but the one king of all that line from which the throne that Messiah was to occupy took its name—"the throne of David." The angel Gabriel, in announcing Him to His virgin-mother, calls it "the throne of David His father," sinking all the intermediate kings of that line, as having no importance save as links to connect the first and the last king of Israel as father and son. It will be observed that Rachab is here represented as the great-grandmother of David (see Ru 4:20-22; 1Ch 2:11-15)—a thing not beyond possibility indeed, but extremely improbable, there being about four centuries between them. There can hardly be a doubt that one or two intermediate links are omitted.
And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon;
And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse;
And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias;
And Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa;
7-8. And Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa; 8. And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias—or Uzziah. Three kings are here omitted—Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah (1Ch 3:11, 12). Some omissions behooved to be made, to compress the whole into three fourteens (Mt 1:17). The reason why these, rather than other names, are omitted, must be sought in religious considerations—either in the connection of those kings with the house of Ahab (as Lightfoot, Ebrard, and Alford view it); in their slender right to be regarded as true links in the theocratic chain (as Lange takes it); or in some similar disqualification.
And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias;
And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias;
And Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias;
And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon:
11. And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren—Jeconiah was Josiah's grandson, being the son of Jehoiakim, Josiah's second son (1Ch 3:15); but Jehoiakim might well be sunk in such a catalogue, being a mere puppet in the hands of the king of Egypt (2Ch 36:4). The "brethren" of Jechonias here evidently mean his uncles—the chief of whom, Mattaniah or Zedekiah, who came to the throne (2Ki 24:17), is, in 2Ch 36:10, as well as here, called "his brother."
about the time they were carried away to Babylon—literally, "of their migration," for the Jews avoided the word "captivity" as too bitter a recollection, and our Evangelist studiously respects the national feeling.
And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel;
12. And after they were brought to Babylon—after the migration of Babylon.
Jechonias begat Salathiel—So 1Ch 3:17. Nor does this contradict Jer 22:30, "Thus saith the Lord, Write ye this man (Coniah, or Jeconiah) childless"; for what follows explains in what sense this was meant—"for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David." He was to have seed, but no reigning child.
and Salathiel—or Shealtiel.
begat Zorobabel—So Ezr 3:2; Ne 12:1; Hag 1:1. But it would appear from 1Ch 3:19 that Zerubbabel was Salathiel's grandson, being the son of Pedaiah, whose name, for some reason unknown, is omitted.
And Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor;
13-15. And Zorobabel begat Abiud, &c.—None of these names are found in the Old Testament; but they were doubtless taken from the public or family registers, which the Jews carefully kept, and their accuracy was never challenged.
And Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud;
And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob;
And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.
16. And Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus—From this it is clear that the genealogy here given is not that of Mary, but of Joseph; nor has this ever been questioned. And yet it is here studiously proclaimed that Joseph was not the natural, but only the legal father of our Lord. His birth of a virgin was known only to a few; but the acknowledged descent of his legal father from David secured that the descent of Jesus Himself from David should never be questioned. See on Mt 1:20.
who is called Christ—signifying "anointed." It is applied in the Old Testament to the kings (1Sa 24:6, 10); to the priests (Le 4:5, 16, &c.); and to the prophets (1Ki 19:16)—these all being anointed with oil, the symbol of the needful spiritual gifts to consecrate them to their respective offices; and it was applied, in its most sublime and comprehensive sense, to the promised Deliverer, inasmuch as He was to be consecrated to an office embracing all three by the immeasurable anointing of the Holy Ghost (Isa 61:1; compare Joh 3:34).
So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.
17. So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away—or migration.
into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon—the migration of Babylon.
unto Christ are fourteen generations—that is, the whole may be conveniently divided into three fourteens, each embracing one marked era, and each ending with a notable event, in the Israelitish annals. Such artificial aids to memory were familiar to the Jews, and much larger gaps than those here are found in some of the Old Testament genealogies. In Ezr 7:1-5 no fewer than six generations of the priesthood are omitted, as will appear by comparing it with 1Ch 6:3-15. It will be observed that the last of the three divisions of fourteen appears to contain only thirteen distinct names, including Jesus as the last. Lange thinks that this was meant as a tacit hint that Mary was to be supplied, as the thirteenth link of the last chain, as it is impossible to conceive that the Evangelist could have made any mistake in the matter. But there is a simpler way of accounting for it. As the Evangelist himself (Mt 1:17) reckons David twice—as the last of the first fourteen and the first of the second—so, if we reckon the second fourteen to end with Josiah, who was coeval with the "carrying away into captivity" (Mt 1:11), and third to begin with Jeconiah, it will be found that the last division, as well as the other two, embraces fourteen names, including that of our Lord.
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
Mt 1:18-25. Birth of Christ.
18. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise—or, "thus."
When as his mother Mary was espoused—rather, "betrothed."
to Joseph, before they came together, she was found—discovered to be.
with child of the Holy Ghost—It was, of course, the fact only that was discovered; the explanation of the fact here given is the Evangelist's own. That the Holy Ghost is a living conscious Person is plainly implied here, and is elsewhere clearly taught (Ac 5:3, 4, &c.): and that, in the unity of the Godhead, He is distinct both from the Father and the Son, is taught with equal distinctness (Mt 28:19; 2Co 13:14). On the miraculous conception of our Lord, see on Lu 1:35.
Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
19. Then Joseph her husband—Compare Mt 1:20, "Mary, thy wife." Betrothal was, in Jewish law, valid marriage. In giving Mary up, therefore, Joseph had to take legal steps to effect the separation.
being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example—to expose her (see De 22:23, 24)
was minded to put her away privily—that is, privately by giving her the required writing of divorcement (De 24:1), in presence of only two or three witnesses, and without cause assigned, instead of having her before a magistrate. That some communication had passed between him and his betrothed, directly or indirectly, on the subject, after she returned from her three months' visit to Elizabeth, can hardly be doubted. Nor does the purpose to divorce her necessarily imply disbelief, on Joseph's part, of the explanation given him. Even supposing him to have yielded to it some reverential assent—and the Evangelist seems to convey as much, by ascribing the proposal to screen her to the justice of his character—he might think it altogether unsuitable and incongruous in such circumstances to follow out the marriage.
But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
20. But while he thought on these things—Who would not feel for him after receiving such intelligence, and before receiving any light from above? As he brooded over the matter alone, in the stillness of the night, his domestic prospects darkened and his happiness blasted for life, his mind slowly making itself up to the painful step, yet planning how to do it in the way least offensive—at the last extremity the Lord Himself interposes.
behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph thou son of David—This style of address was doubtless advisedly chosen to remind him of what all the families of David's line so early coveted, and thus it would prepare him for the marvellous announcement which was to follow.
fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost—Though a dark cloud now overhangs this relationship, it is unsullied still.
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
21. And she shall bring forth a son—Observe, it is not said, "she shall bear thee a son," as was said to Zacharias of his wife Elizabeth (Lu 1:13).
and thou—as his legal father.
shalt call his name JESUS—from the Hebrew meaning "Jehovah the Saviour"; in Greek Jesus—to the awakened and anxious sinner sweetest and most fragrant of all names, expressing so melodiously and briefly His whole saving office and work!
for he shall save—The "He" is here emphatic—He it is that shall save; He personally, and by personal acts (as Webster and Wilkinson express it).
his people—the lost sheep of the house of Israel, in the first instance; for they were the only people He then had. But, on the breaking down of the middle wall of partition, the saved people embraced the "redeemed unto God by His blood out of every kindred and people and tongue and nation."
from their sins—in the most comprehensive sense of salvation from sin (Re 1:5; Eph 5:25-27).
Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
22. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet—(Isa 7:14).
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
23. Behold, a virgin—It should be "the virgin" meaning that particular virgin destined to this unparalleled distinction.
shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which, being interpreted, is, God with us—Not that He was to have this for a proper name (like "Jesus"), but that He should come to be known in this character, as God manifested in the flesh, and the living bond of holy and most intimate fellowship between God and men from henceforth and for ever.
Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
24. Then Joseph, being raised from sleep—and all his difficulties now removed.
did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife—With what deep and reverential joy would this now be done on his part; and what balm would this minister to his betrothed one, who had till now lain under suspicions of all others the most trying to a chaste and holy woman—suspicions, too, arising from what, though to her an honor unparalleled, was to all around her wholly unknown!
And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
25. And knew her not till she had brought forth her first-born son: and he called his name JESUS—The word "till" does not necessarily imply that they lived on a different footing afterwards (as will be evident from the use of the same word in 1Sa 15:35; 2Sa 6:23; Mt 12:20); nor does the word "first-born" decide the much-disputed question, whether Mary had any children to Joseph after the birth of Christ; for, as Lightfoot says, "The law, in speaking of the first-born, regarded not whether any were born after or no, but only that none were born before." (See on Mt 13:55, 56).